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tv   Weekends With Alex Witt  MSNBC  February 7, 2015 9:00am-11:01am PST

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stouffer's mac and cheese with real aged cheddar now in a convenient cup. new stouffer's mac cups. made for you to love. jordan ratchets up the bombing on isis. might that country send in ground troops? the mystery of the american hostage. new details on how she was captured and a direct message from her parents to the militant group. what could they say? coast to coast, more stormy weather threatens the east coast this week while a deluge has already begun out west. where and when all that bad weather will hit. "fifty shades of grey" is already breaking box office records and it's not even in theaters yet. we'll explain in number ones. hey, there. high noon here in the east.
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9:00 a.m. out west. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." developing now, the u.s. and its allies today conducted new air strikes against isis. central command reports that piloted and unmanned aircraft have flown 26 missions against targets in iraq and syria since friday. and jordan carried out new air strikes against isis targets in syria. jordan launched the raids thursday in response to the brutal isis execution of a captive jordanian pilot. isis claims that an american being held captive, 26-year-old kayla mueller, was killed in one of the jordanian attacks. the u.s. and jordanian governments have been unable to confirm isis' claims. let's get to richard engel who joins me with the very latest on all this. actually, we're going to joe fryer first. we're going to get more with kayla mueller and talk about her hometown of prescott arizona, her parents have issued a statement from there last night after going to extraordinary
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efforts to keep kayla's name out of the media for so long. her name was released today. this news leaves us concerned, yet we are still hopeful that kayla is alive. we have sent you a private message and asked that you respond to us privately. joe fryer is covering this angle of things for us from prescott, arizona. joe, were many of the town that kayla mueller was being held by isis? >> reporter: the impression we get is a lot of people here didn't know. the family as you mentioned there, went out of their way to really try to keep this quiet for kayla's own safety. so perhaps a small group of family and friends were aware of it. they've kept it quiet. still aren't speaking publicly about this. and a lot of people we've spoken with here in town have basically said they had no idea that someone from this town had been taken captive by isis a year and a half ago. so these are all new developments for many of the people who live here in prescott. >> let's talk about what the family has said. any indication they will speak further or that's it? >> reporter: we don't know.
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they've already released two statements. the latest one came out last night. it was a little bit surprising. this one actually was from kayla's parents. while the statement was made public and it's been published on air and in news articles everywhere it really is directed at the people who are responsible for taking kayla and they told them that they have sent them a message and they would like to hear back privately. the family also saying that this latest news does leave them concerned yet they are still hopeful that she's alive. because of that, they do want to talk with those who are responsible for taking her into captivity. >> joe, thank you very much for the latest on that front. we are going to get with richard engel. he's in erbil, iraq. we've got him now, the satellite connection's been established. richard, with a welcome to you, how effective has the allied bombing campaign been in pushing isis back? >> reporter: well i think the results have been quite mixed. in this part of northern iraq
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which is generally called kurdistan, the kurdish region, there has been some success. the kurds have certainly been able to hold their ground. they've been able to take some new ground. but this is the only place where there's been an effective ground campaign. the iraqi army is still in shambles. the mosul campaign which was initially scheduled for this spring probably won't happen until the summer maybe not even until next fall. mosul is the main city that is controlled by isis in iraq. and in syria, there are no real ground allies at all. and even where i am we've done an interview with the top official who runs the security council here. and he was complaining that even though the kurds are very close allies of washington, that they are fighting that they are loyal. they're not running away. they're not getting the kind of weaponry, the kind of intelligence, the kind of
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security cooperation and infrastructure that they had been expecting. so even here which is supposed to be the best part of this war, or the most effective part of this war, there's absolutely some lagging discrepancies. >> yeah. is there a chance that jordan could use ground troops richard? has there been even any indication they're considering that? >> reporter: i think it is very unlikely to the point of probably absolutely not. anything is possible. but i would be shocked to see that kind of thing happen. there doesn't seem to be an appetite anywhere in the world to get involved in a land war in syria or iraq. the u.s. did that for many years. we all know how that ended up. so isis has repeatedly said please send in the troops
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please join this quagmire. it's one of the reasons that analysts believe that isis has been so flagrant in and brutal in its propaganda. it is trying to provoke a ground invasion. but i have a strong suspicion that jordan will not fall for this bait. >> at this point richard, certainly seems like jordanians are very solid in this air offensive against isis right now. other governments claim to be supportive as well. but do you think it's all as a result of the brutal execution of the jordanian air pilot and do you think this will be some sort of an air-based nation coalition that will last? >> reporter: i don't think that this is going to be a turning point moment for the middle east, that suddenly the arab world is going to change and react in revulsion and stand up against isis and with the united states and jordan and a few other countries. i wish that were the case.
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for jordan, certainly this has been a defining moment. for the king himself, this has been a critical moment for him to show leadership. the king has been under tremendous criticism over the last several years for tolerating too much corruption, for being something of an absentee monarch, often spending time at places like davos and in the united states. this is a time for him to show his people that he's a strong leader that he is not just his father's son, that he is every bit as tough as his still quite beloved father the late king in jordan. so for jordan, this is a very important and turning point moment. i don't know if it's going to change the hearts and minds profoundly in places like pakistan or indonesia or the rural parts of egypt. people were revolted by the video. but it doesn't mean that it's going to change the dynamic on the ground with isis.
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you can be upset and disapprove. but that still leaves 20,000 well-armed isis fighters dug in to syria and iraq. >> richard engel, your insights always appreciated. other news now, taiwanese officials investigating whether pilot error may have contributed to that deadly plane crash this week. investigators now have reportedly discovered the pilots shut down the good engine while trying to restart the other. transasia airways says all of its pilots have start proficiency tests this week. that plane nose-dived into a river after take-off. 15 people survived. the ntsb is investigating whether a rare design of the third rail continued to the high death toll in tuesday's commuter rail train crash. metronorth is apparently the only commuter railroad in america to collect power from the bottom of the third rail
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rather than the top. it could have led to it snapping into more than a dozen pieces. the pacific northwest is getting drenched by a storm system called the pineapple express. one river in washington swamped several homes. a separate mud slide partially closed two roads in that area. at one point on friday the river was five feet in one area. while the pacific northwest is taking a punch, the northeast, well, we're getting ready for another snowstorm. oh, great. meteorologist mike seidel has more on the storm from boston. >> reporter: good afternoon. from the mountains of snow here in downtown boston more is on the way as we have a system that's going to drop snow from late tonight into tuesday morning. this is a long-duration event. we're not going to get the unrelenting snowfalls we had with the blizzard almost two weeks ago and the storm earlier this week. boston set a seven-day snowfall record of just over 40 inches.
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it's piled everywhere. people are literally fighting over parking spaces and more to come. the snow starts falling tonight, will continue till tuesday morning. anywhere along and near interstate 90 all the way back through worcester into albany and back towards syracuse and rochester, new york we could see another foot of snow on what's already fallen. south of there, we're looking at some freezing rain. new york city will get wintry mix. but by and large escape the brunt of this particular storm. more impacts on the way monday and tuesday, airlines will likely cancel flights and there will be long delays at the northeast hubs. we'll be here for the duration in boston. alex, back to you. >> thanks so much mike. let's go to pennsylvania now where progressives are gathering for a key two-day summit. one that could have presidential ramifications for democrats. bernie sanders, himself a potential candidate, was today's keynote speaker. >> this issue of income and
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wealth inequality is to me the major moral issue, the major economic issue and the major political issue of our time. >> msnbc's alex siteswald is covering this for us. let's talk about the type of reception senator sanders got. did he offer any clues about whether he's running? >> he was very well-received here, alex. these are his kind of people. this is his kind of event. it's a statewide meeting of grassroots activists. these are exactly the types of networks he hopes to tap into if he runs for president, which would be a long shot against hillary clinton. he's still considering it. he says he will try to make a decision some time this spring. and hillary clinton was invited to speak at this event, did not attend. i've talked to over a dozen activists here. none of them picked her. he's trying to be the alternative to her. >> i want to pick up on the word alternative there. if he runs do you think he
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would run -- any indication as a democrat or as an independent? >> yeah that's a great question because he is an independent in the senate. he caucuses with democrats. he's registered as an independent. but he would almost certainly have to register as a democrat join the primary and caucus. running as independent, would be very, very difficult. that's what his advisers tell me they're thinking about doing. >> all right. thank you so much. ahead, the rise of isis and how did this death cult as president obama has referred to them come to be? we'll examine with the man who wrote the book on the terror group. and later r traces of the bubonic plague found on the new york city subway? should we be concerned?
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on the offensive, for the third day in a row, jordan is bombarding isis targets in syria
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in a major show of force following the brutal execution of a jordanian pilot. but there are unverified claims by isis that that very retaliation has killed american hostage kayla mueller. joining me now, democratic congressman adam schiff, ranking member of the intelligence committee. with a welcome to you, sir, glad to have you to talk about so many things what is the u.s. doing right now to ascertain the fate of kayla mueller? >> we have our intelligence agencies trying to pore over everything we can to determine whether this claim is correct. alex, i'm deeply skeptical. i find it very hard to believe that isis could tell a jordanian plane from an american plane or that the only one purportedly killed in this bombing attack would have been an american hostage. so i don't believe it for a minute. nonetheless, we'll thoroughly investigate it and see what we can determine. isis has a habit of lying about these things about their hostages. they don't have much of a history of releasing them tragically. and i just am very skeptical of
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this claim. >> let's talk to what jordan's reaction is to all of this in terms of what happened with their downed air pilot. they've taken the lead in these air strikes. officials there say this is just the beginning. could and should that mean jordanian troops on the ground? >> alex i think richard engel was spot-on. i think it's very unlikely that jordan puts ground troops into this conflict. it would result in a lot of jordanian casualties. i'm not sure the jordanian public would support that any more than the american public would support that. i think you'll see a step-upped tempo of their air attacks, you'll see an intensification of their intelligence efforts and you may see jordan also stepping more into a role of helping to supply and help the opposition to isis as well as the regime in syria. but i don't think it's going to amount to ground troops. >> i want to ask you more about what richard and i spoke about, which was the other major coalition members, specifically the uae, has reportedly now
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grounded their air force because the u.s. was not providing enough support for any potential rescue missions. what do you know about that and just how willing do you see this coalition as being? >> well i understand that uae has for a period grounded their aircraft. we're doing everything possible to make sure that anyone who's flying sorties has the back-up of an air rescue mission. the reality, though, is there is always going to be some risk to our pilots. it looks like in the case of the jordanian pilot, he was picked up almost immediately after his chute deployed and he landed on the ground. in those circumstances etchven the most timely search and rescue may not be enough. so the question ultimately for all the coalition partners is whether they're willing to accept that risk. unfortunately that's always going to be present. people like to think somehow these are sterile operations. but there are always risks to the pilots involved and other personnel as well. >> when do you expect the president to send a new authorization for a use of military force against isis and how long do you suspect that will take to get through
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congress? >> i think we will get the administration's proposal very soon. and that could with within a matter of days. i don't know that it will actually be text. it might be here's what we'd like to see in terms of a sunset and here's what we want to see in the use of ground troops. but i think we will get the specificity that a lot of members have been wanting. it's not going to be easy. on one side of the spectrum with the mccains and grahams, you're going to want -- those members will want a blank check, effectively, no limits on ground troops, no limits on geography, no sun-setting of the old authorities. many of us want to see something that's narrowly tailored to gives the president the authority to do what he wants to, to equip the air sorties but not a combat mission on the ground. and we want to make sure it's time-limited. a sunset will be violatetally important. >> this week zarqawi moussaoui
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claimed that arabian officials donated to the group in the lead-up to 9/11 and one diplomat discussed with him bombing air force one. but there's long been suspicion that a saudi role. what do you make of his claims and should those pages be declassified? >> i'm skeptical of his testimony and anything he says. i have read the 28 pages. the 9/11 commission investigated the allegations made in those 28 pages and was never able to substantiate any of those allegations. i'm not sure how much stock we ought to put in them. we did a thorough investigation of them. but i think in the interest of the public and to kind of demystify these 28 pages that they should be declassified i think it can be done in a way that protects any sources and methods. it's been a long time since those 28 pages were produced. this may not be the immediate
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right moment to do it as the saudi royal family is in transition. but i think they should be declassified. >> why aren't they yet? who's holding that back? >> the administration has the ultimate authority of declassifying that. i'm not sure whether there's something precisely in them or they feel the timing isn't right. but at the end of the day, i think there's a tendency to overclassify information that may be embarrassing to an ally or embarrassing to ourselves but that's not a good reason for continued classification. there there's legitimate source and method issue that will give public exposure to a still clandestine source, yes, that's where they're protecting and we can redact those areas. but i think it should be declassified. >> next up to ukraine here should the u.s. send military aid? >> yes, i think we should. and frankly, i think we should have some time ago. i've been advocating this for some time. negotiations haven't succeeded. i appreciate the efforts that
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merkel and hollande are making. maybe they'll bear fruit. if they do, that would be wonderful. but economic sanctions and negotiations have not succeeded. russia has essentially ignored the agreement it reached in the fall in minsk. it continued to send supplies and surface-to-air missiles to change the facts on the ground to take over ukrainian territory, to create a permanent frozen conflict to destabilize ukraine. i think we need to raise the cost of that continued aggression and probably the only feasible way to do that is to help give ukraine some of the weapons it needs to defend itself, defensive weapons that can raise the cost for moscow and take out some of these tanks that are crossing the border. >> finally, are you planning to attend when israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu addresses congress next month? as you know, a few of your democrat colleagues will not be. where do you stand? >> i will be in attendance. and i'm urging members to attend.
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look, i was among the first to say i think it was a colossal mistake for the speaker to extend an invitation when he did in the middle of the israeli political campaign and have a head of state coming in to essentially lobby for legislation opposed by the president. i don't think that invitation was a very good idea at all. and i think after we've seen the last couple of weeks, that has been borne out. but he was invited, he has accepted. i will be in attendance. i think members ought to attend and show him that courtesy notwithstanding the serious mistake the speaker made. >> representative adam schiff your insights always appreciated. thank you. still release, harper lee's new mysterious novel. and fans of "fifty shades of grey" are breaking records in anticipation of the new film. many people clean their dentures with toothpaste or plain water. and even though
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then there's trusting your vehicle maintenance to ford service confidence. our expertise, technology, and high quality parts mean your peace of mind. now you can get the works, a multi-point inspection with a synthetic blend oil change tire rotation, brake inspection and more. $29.95 or less. welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." today in the middle east jordan is unleashing new and punishing air strikes on isis. it's now at the tip of the spear, for the moment bombing isis targets in syria with a new aggressiveness following the brutal execution of its pilot. joining me now from a jordanian air base at the heart of the mission is nbc news's keir simmons simmons. hello. >> reporter: good day. all day, we've been watching this jordanian air campaign against isis continue for another day. the f-16 behind me here was not involved in today's bombing campaign.
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those mk-82 500-pound munitions attached to the wing here are the kinds of munitions that are being used, though. the jordanians are utterly rejecting that isis claimed that its bombs killed the u.s. hostage during a bombing raid in the last few days. they described it as criminal propaganda. meanwhile, we have watched one by one these f-16s take off bound for isis targets. one by one, jordanian jets took off this morning. their target? isis fighters and bases. the unconfirmed claim from isis that an american hostage has been killed in these bombing raids has not shaken jordan's resolve. around 24 f-16s are taking off from this air base here in jordan heading for isis targets in syria. there goes another one.
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we were invited to see for ourselves the professionalism of jordan's air crews. the fighter pilot, lieutenant kaseasbeh, who was burned to death by isis, had attacken off from this very base. jordan says their retaliation will be rentless. >> we have to increase and step up not just the air campaign but as we said and as we promised we're going to go after these guys, wherever they are and with everything that we have. >> reporter: the public mood in jordan appears to have shifted decisively, thousands on the streets yesterday, a protest against the jihadists headed by the queen herself. >> the message is jordan will never go down, you can never bring us done. >> they will fight and we will win rshwere the u.s. military is providing support for the jordanians. two u.s. fighter planes landed here in jordan alongside jordanian jets that had taken off laden with bombs.
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those jets landed 2 1/2 hours later. in almost every case as far as we could see, their payloads empty, their deadly message to isis delivered. and every one of those pilots did return safely. the jordanians do appear to see a shift in public opinion since that horrific execution of one of their pilots. that does appear to have brought jordanian public opinion further behind their attacks on isis being part of the coalition that is targeting isis. and there are now greater efforts being made to ensure that should one of these planes go down alex should a pilot survive that that they can rescue that pilot before he falls into the hands of isis. alex? >> keir simmons, thank you so much. this multinational war comes just one year after president obama called isis a j.v. squad. it comes eight months after isis
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took over the second largest city unimpeded. joining me is patrick coburn whose book "the raise of the islamic state" is out with a new edition this week. patrick, i want to get your assessment of the new isis clamdz that claims that kayla mueller was killed by jordanian air strikes. how does this sound? >> it seems unlikely that it would have happened that way. it's unclear what their strategy is by committing this very public atrocity presumably they want to terrify the jordanians and others. they probably had decided that cutting off heads was no longer getting the news agenda that it once did. so they tried something new. >> is there anything isis can do that would turn off its followers and particularly you talk about the something new they tried. do you think there's a possibility that that horrific
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execution -- i'm, they're all brutal. but did that take it even a step further? >> yes, it did. this is extraordinarily cruel. it's an unprecedented way of killing somebody. will it deter their own followers? i dateoubt it. these are people who are involved in a very violent war. their leadership has been fighting since 2003. so they're inured to violence. i don't think this will change the opinion of their followers. >> how about geographically? where do you think isis goes from here? >> well it's still in pretty strong position. last year it had 100 days campaign in which it defeated the iraqi army took most of northern and western iraq. it's taken over eastern syria.
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this is an area about the size of great britain. it suffered some setbacks in the syrian/kurdish town of kobani recently. it's lost some towns near baghdad. but basically it is where it was. there's a sort of stalemate. and in syria indeed it's been making some advances. so although it's not able to carry out these sort of blitz creedic attacks that it was carrying out previously it is holding on to most of the territory it captured last year. >> u.s. advisers have been in iraq for months. is the iraqi army showing any signs of improvement? >> well this is a crucial question. some signs but not enough. last year at the time of the fall of mosul, the iraqi army was said to have had 350,000 men. we now know many of these were ghost soldiers. they were getting paid. but their salaries were disappearing into various
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pockets. now they have maybe 12 brigades about 30,000-plus soldiers who might be able to fight. but recent fighting north of baghdad, i know the one division there was meant to have 4,000 combat troops. already only a couple hundred. so it's nowhere near where it needs to be. and this is very important because the main battle force of the baghdad government of the shia militias the main support of the islamic state they know they will be treated as if they were members of the islamic state, whatever happens. so without an iraqi army i think they'll have difficulty recapturing all this territory. >> has prime minister abadi there in iraq brought any change with his implementation there? >> he's brought some change. but it's very difficult to do. we talk about the iraqi army. every officer there will abort
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his job. you want to be a colonel, it costs you about $200,000. divisional commanders, over $1 million. the reason is that supplies for the army for instance a battalion of 600, the colonel would get the money for the 600 men. there would be only 150 in that battalion, he'd pocket the difference. one iraqi politician said to me these guys aren't soldiers they're investors. it was true last year. it's still largely true this year. >> i know that you were updating this book from baghdad this summer. isis was during that time making its advance toward the capital. i'd like to know the process of writing a book on something that is moving so quickly and also throw in whatever frustrations you may have at the relative surprise many in the government and around the world had to isis when you were sounding the alarm back in 2013. >> yeah, i'm still pretty amazed by this.
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it's becoming evident in 2013 that isis was growing in power in iraq. it had benefited from the syrian war. it had used its expertise there to expand in syria. in the middle of 2013, it started breaking open lots of big prisons to free its most experienced fighters. it took abu ghraib prison the famous prison west of baghdad. and then at the beginning of 2014, they captured fallujah the famous city captured by the u.s. marines in 2004. and held it. the iraqi army couldn't get it back. so this was pretty self-evident. but nobody seemed to pay much attention till the fall of mosul, the second biggest city in iraq, in the high summer, in june. and why people didn't notice that, i don't know. >> well it will remain a mystery, i should think. dr. coburn, very good to speak
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something i heard that you couldn't even define the dna, and i'll borrow in one of my colleagues who said proof that zombies do live on the subways. >> exactly. only 2% of the dna found was human dna. so what does that suggest? we live symbiotically with our environment. the study demonstrated there. a newly covered novel by harper lee, the author of "to kill a mockingbird," the work written before that is titled "go set a watchman." let's bring in sarah nelson from amazon.com, and ron charles, the editor of "the washington post's" book world. two people who do not ride the subway. i want to ask you, how big a deal is this for the publishing world, sarah? >> it's a huge deal.
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one indicator is the book is not even out yet and it's number one on amazon preorders. >> incredible. >> so harper lee is a beloved author. "to kill a mockingbird" is to some people the great american novel. it's a pretty big deal. >> i've heard the publishers will do a first printing of 2 million books, i believe. do you have any idea in terms of the prenumber orders there on amazon? >> all i know is it's the number one -- >> that's pretty significant. ron, you wrote yesterday that the publication of the announcement of the book has stirred up a storm of speculation about how much this 88-year-old author is going to be involved in the discussion. >> she did have a stroke back in 2007. she can't hear very well or see very well. but some friends who see her regularly say she's very excited about this. she issued a statement earlier this week saying she was thrilled about it. it's hard to tell. we don't have video access to her 24 hours a day.
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she hasn't made any appearances for a while. it is hard to know. >> how did this go unnoticed for so long? >> she'd written the novel a long time ago. i saw somebody referred to it as not a prequel or sequel but as the parent. it was the first book she wrote. and the editor said the stuff that's best in here is these flashbacks to the girl's childhood. and she took those out. and that's where "to kill a mocking mocking mockingbird" came about. she hasn't been -- harper lee has been been making public appearances for many, many years. she was going out of her way not to answer questions about what she was doing or what she was writing. i think people love "to kill a mockingbird" so much.
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and they respect her to write what she wants or not write what she doesn't want. i think she just was left alone with respect. >> based on what you're saying do we know if she's even happy about this book being published, given how private she is? do we know? >> all i know is what i've read about it. i haven't seen the book yet. i haven't spoken to her obviously. she did issue a statement. she certainly knows the book exists and it was with her papers. and we don't know if she wanted to publish this book ten years ago and somebody stopped her from doing it. i don't know. nobody knows. >> when we think about "to kill a mockingbird," it is epic it's part of school literature for children. millions of children in the united states and around the world. it was a film adapted, critical acclaim, gregory peck wins an academy award. there's a lot of accolades to this book.
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are there concerns that this new novel, though could somehow overshadow, tarnish, dilute the importance of "to kill a mocking bird"? >> it's not going to be shadow "to kill a mockingbird." it's not going to match. >> being a critic do you look at this any differently when you analyze this book, knowing where it's from knowing all this -- it's a very unique situation? >> i used to be an english teacher. and but as a book critic there's so much interest in it you know at some level, it will be a letdown for readers. >> do you think as a teacher, you could see this being part of curriculum? it's scout who's the much-beloved character from the book, 20 years later living in new york city. do you think this had some merit that way? >> yeah it will be fascinating
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for scholars to understand what she was thinking and the times. >> and i think as -- for scholars for students because it rounds out the portrait of a writer's life. and how she worked and even if it's not as good or not as complete, it would be hard to be as good since many people consider this almost a perfect book. but in terms of getting a sense of what a writer's writing life is like and what stages they go through as a writer and how the words progress and so on it's invaluable. i think it would be very useful to other writers. >> will you take that kind of thing into consideration as you potentially critique this book? >> of course. you have to critique this book in its context. and it's not that usual. the library of congress is full of boxes of thousands of famous writers that no one's looked through yet. things are discovered periodically. >> y'all get to work, then. thank you both so much. 30,000 people die each year
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now to tech trends and a new book giving us a peek at the future of driving. a driverless car is just one part of what roads will look like. levi tillerman is the author of "the great race." with a welcome to you. in your book you write that 30,000 people die each year because of car crashes. we've heard a lot in recent months about driverless cars. do you think they're going to be safer than the cars we drive today and will they be affordable? >> there's certainly the potential for that alex. >> in terms of both safer and affordable? can you give me an idea in terms of the cost of these cars? >> i don't think anyone's quite priced out how much autonomous vehicles will cost yet. but you can see that autonomous vehicles are clearly coming. they're coming by the year 2025. we have major automotive players
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who have systems they're working on to sell to automotive manufacturers for autonomous vehicles. >> how diverse will these cars be in terms of their appearance? >> that's a great question. we are really witnessing a once-in-a-lifetime transformation in the automotive industry from cars that run on oil to cars that run on electricity and cars that we drive to cars that drive themselves. that opens up a whole new range of possibilities in terms of what cars will look like how they'll perform, how we'll interact with that you are transportation system. >> you wrote an article for "the washington post" about the electric vehicle car. you said electric vehicle sales may sag for a month or a quarter, but will cheep oil kill the electric revolution? don't bet on it. electric cars are here to stay. why do you think so? >> california has a mandate in place that really forces automakers to build and sell electric vehicles.
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and they have a very clever policy mechanism that incentivizes the early movers. so a company like tesla that is making hundreds of millions of dollars a year on selling credits that they get awarded for selling electric vehicles in california to other automakers who haven't sold as many electric cars. the other reason is really performance. the truth is that electric vehicles make possible a whole new set of performance characteristics that just weren't possible with gasoline-powered vehicles. if you look at -- >> go ahead. >> if you looked at the detroit auto show you can see a lot of hybrid and electric systems being put into very high-performance automobiles. that's because electric cars just drive better. >> okay. when you think about cars certainly think about the united states japan, others as well. but in this regard you think about china, too? are they somewhat of a newcomer to this? >> the truth is the chinese had
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a very ambitious program trying to leap-frog america and japan and the other european countries in automotive technologies. and their idea was to go straight to electric vehicles. unfortunately, they kind of got some of the incentives wrong when they were designing that policy that they were trying to use to push their industry forward. and so the chinese are in a period right now where they're trying to reconsider how they can push forward into an era of cleaner, higher-performance, better electric cars. >> levi thanks for the peek at the future of the automotive industry. appreciate it. >> thanks for having me. the producer who wrote this tease is a millennial who just bought a house. why young people in their 20s and 30s are clamoring for their own little slice of the burbs. own ups. three grams daily of beta-glucan... a soluable fiber from whole grain oat foods like cheerios can help lower cholesterol.
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death. god wanted me to live for a reason so i'm alive now. >> it's a miracle. from an icy pond to a hospital emergency room how a young boy defied the odds and cheated death. on capitol hill, is there a growing democratic divide? what's the dilemma some lawmakers face about the israeli prime minister's upcoming speech do congress? and millennial dream homes. why you may find them in a surprising place. good day to all of you. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." now here's what's happening. we have this story developing right now. the u.s. and its allies today conducting new air strikes against isis. central command reports that piloted and unmanned aircraft have flown 26 missions against targets in iraq and syria since friday and jordan has carried out new air strikes against isis targets in syria. jordan began launching those raids thursday in response to
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the brutal execution of a captive jordanian pilot. and u.s. officials tell nbc news they've seen no evidence that corroborates isis' claims that an american being held captive, 26-year-old kayla mueller, was killed in one of the jordanian air attacks. as the nation waits to learn the fate of the hostage, kayla mueller, her name is only now coming to light. her identity had been kept from the public eye as her family worked behind the scenes to have her released. but last night, her parents released this statement, after going to extraordinary efforts to keep kayla's name out of the media for so long, by securing the cooperation of journalists throughout the world, her name was released today. this news leaves us concerned yet bef hopeful that kayla is still alive. we ask that you respond to us privately. joe fryer is in mueller's hometown of prescott, arizona. joe, what are people in town there saying about all this? >> reporter: there are still a lot of unanswered questions here in kayla mueller's hometown.
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her family's now released a couple of statements in the past 24 hours or so. one of those statements providing a lot more information about this young woman who was kidnapped a year and a half ago. someone who was passionate about helping syrian refugees. there are no visible signs mentioning kayla mueller in prescott, arizona. this community has long honored her family's request to keep her name quiet. in fact, some here are just now learning that someone from their own town is an isis hostage. >> totally sad. a young person like that trying to do good and then this happens. >> reporter: a humanitarian aid worker mueller was captured by isis in august of 2013 after leaving a hospital near aleppo, syria. isis says she was killed in an air strike by the jordanian air force. but u.s. officials say right now, there's no evidence corroborating those claims. skepticism is also high on the streets of prescott. >> i think might be just a ploy on their part.
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>> i feel very saddened for the family that they have to wonder whether their child is alive or dead. >> reporter: mueller's passion for humanitarian work is no secret here, documented in the local newspaper when she was in high school and again in 2013 when mueller told the kiwanis club about her work in refugee camps. for as long as i live she said i will not let this suffering be normal. her family says kayla found this work heartbreaking but compelling and is extremely devoted to the people of syria. in 2011 she even took part in a virtual youtube sit-in. >> i am in solidarity with the syrian people. i reject the brutality and killing that the syrian authorities are committing against the syrian people. >> reporter: in the life of this passionate 26-year-old woman, mueller's family says the common thread is quiet leadership and a strong desire to serve others.
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mueller's relatives say last may was the first time they received confirmation of her captivity. we should tell you just now in the last few minutes, we did actually see the first sign that we've seen here in prescott. it's a simple sign along the town square that simply says, pray for kayla. alex? >> heartbreaking. joe fryer, thank you so much. a bit earlier today, i spoke with retired colonel jack jacobs about the new offensive from jordan against isis and just how far they're willing to go. >> they're not going to put a couple hundred thousand troops on the ground and stay there a while. they're not going to do that. if anything on the ground is going to work, it's going to have to be a multinational operation with other nations in the region contributing. i don't see any of that stuff happening. i think you might see renewed air strikes. but that's only going to be from jordan and just recently the united arab emirates our staunchest ally in the region with air strikes, decided it's going to pull out of doing that
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too. >> you think the likelihood of jordanian boots on the ground is slim to none? >> slim. and if they are going to be on the ground they're not going to be decisive on the battlefield. >> the colonel went on to say with such a lack of intelligence on the ground, it could be a long time before we return the real fate of the isis hostage, kayla mueller. while the fighting continues in the middle east. president obama is getting ready to seek congressional approval for military force against isis. let's go to the white house and to kristen welker. are there concerns an approval could ultimately lead to u.s. ground forces being brought into the fight against isis? >> reporter: there are concerns, alex. before we get to that in terms of framing this that isis claim that that american hostage, kayla mueller, was killed is adding fresh urgency to the fight against isis. so that is the backdrop as the white house readies a request that it will send to congress. that request will come in the coming days asking for new authorization to use military force against the terrorist
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group. to your point, alex there are a number of sticking points that include the scope of u.s. involvement, the length of time that u.s. forces will be committed to the campaign and, of course should the language prohibit the use of ground forces? president obama, we've heard him say multiple times, he's been adamant he's not going to send u.s. ground troops into a combat role. but some democrats actually want that language written into the legislation. many republicans disagree and some top administration officials including secretary of state john kerry have argued that that type of language could ultimately tie the president's hands if ground troops are needed in a different capacity for example, or if the scope of this campaign changes. the administration has said it wants this legislation to pass with bipartisan support. but like so many pieces of legislation on capitol hill, there will likely be a robust and long debate about this. we expect that president obama could submit the language as early as next week alex but it could take several months before there's final passage.
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>> kristen, thank you so much. we appreciate that update. meantime a nasty storm called the pineapple express is drenching parts of california as well as the pacific northwest. up to 10 inches of rain could fall by tomorrow. the national weather service has issued a warning in the san francisco region for heavy rains, high wind gusts and flash floods through monday. meanwhile, a winter storm in nevada is causing some dangerous driving conditions right near lake tahoe and near reno. the high winds sparked a dust storm that cut visibility down on the roads. wind gusts up to 70 miles an hour and the storm knocked out power to more than 20,000 customers. in the northeast, we're getting ready for another winter blast. boston is in the bull's-eye of this latest storm. this is a live look at new york city right now, the big apple should not be getting hit as hard as it was last time. meteorologist reynolds wolf from the weather channel has a bit more on the forecast. >> alex i hate to be the bearer of bad news but it appears more
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snow on the way for the northeast, including boston. the reason why, plenty of moisture will be coming through. the cold air from the north, moisture from the south, spells out what is the tune of nasty stuff for today, for tomorrow and tomorrow night. some locations could be more of a wintry mix. but it will be right here in parts of the northeast where it's all going to be snow. travel will be very difficult as we get into monday. places like bangor to portland back into boston even new york city right on the fringe where you're going to be dealing with some icy weather. keep in mind your morning commute on monday could be treacherous trying to cross the george washington bridge. all overpasses and bridges will be susceptible to some icing. however, down towards the nation's capital and farther south, primarily talking about a rain situation for you. bundle up, keep the snow shovels handy. boston, my apologies alex.
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>> thank you reynolds. president obama touches off a debate on religion after his prayer breakfast speech. what's the fallout from it? and it's a family matter. the delicate task jeb bush may face if he runs for president. ose bargain paper towels but i had to use so many sheets per spill the roll just disappeared. i knew i should've bought bounty bounty is 2x more absorbent and strong when wet. just look how much longer bounty lasts versus one of those bargain brand towels. and that's a good deal. bounty. the long lasting picker upper and now try new bounty nfl prints. available at walmart.
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and lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the crusades and the inquisition inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of christ. in our home country, slavery and jim crow all too often was justified in the name of christ. >> that was president obama speaking at the national prayer breakfast earlier this week. that part of speech is drawing
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criticism, in particular the reference to the crusades. the white house has offered context to his remarks. quote, they described the president as eager to use the prayer breakfast to make people think about the need to stand up against those who try to use faith to justify violence no matter what religion they practice." joining me now, jimmy williams and republican strategist mercedes sclapp. sheers here's a quote, he has offended every believing christian in the united states. this goes further to the point that mr. obama does not believe in america or the values we all share. and then you have russell moore calling the president's comments about christianity an unfortunate aattempt at a wrong-headed moral comparison. do you think the president made any kind of a mistake here jimmy? >> what i can tell you is many
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of the people that came to this country hundreds of years ago came because they were being persecuted for their religion. in the south in the 1950s and '60s, they burned crosses. so the theory that the name of god is used or invoked to kill other people because you don't like them whether they be a different race or sexual orientation or creed or gender or religion that has been going on for thousands of years. how do we think that queen elizabeth i came to power? that was catholics versus protestants and they were killing each other all in the name of god. what the president said was uncomfortable for a lot of people. and governor gilmore is wrong. i was not offended at all by what the president said. and i would like to hear more christians own up to the fact that when you have religious extremism from any religion, it's extremism altogether. >> it's about context. mercedes, jimmy is saying he
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wasn't offended at all. were you? >> yes. i think talking even to christian leaders that were at the event and those outside of the event, they were stunned. this is a president who has had a very rocky relationship with the christians in general here. because the christians feel there's been this attack on their religious liberties from this administration. they're not very trusting relationship going on right now. he adds this really moral high ground speech to it. and they were just shocked. and when you bring in the historians that basically said look, i don't think the president knows much about what he's talking about with the crusades, it all adds up to the fact that the president used this forum and this speech in a very inappropriate manner. and rightfully so, there's backlash to it. >> jimmy, you want to weigh in on that. >> reminds me of the pharisees
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in the temple. they don't like the fact that it's not a completely purely clean religion. >> jimmy, this is hundreds, thousands of years ago. we're talking about humanity -- >> the 1960s were not hundreds of years ago. >> we're hoping our humanity has evolved. >> the president said that. >> but he refuses to talk about the fact that -- even mention the word islamic radicalism. >> mercedes, that is factually untrue. the president has talked time and time again about fundamentalist extremist islamists. he's said it over and over again. just because we went to the national prayer breakfast as the president of the united states and made people do something, it's called think, think about what people do in the name of religion -- >> what he's done is offended the audience that was there at the national prayer breakfast. >> then that's tough. >> when you look at the crusades, this was a defensive
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war where the christians were trying to gain back their territory that the muslims had taken over. here in this case with isis and islamic state, what they're doing is they're killing thousands of civilians of all faiths and they're basically taking over these different countries while the president sits back with this strategic patient plan that won't work. >> have christians ever done what you just described, ever? >> talking about hundreds of years ago. >> i'm not asking that. >> there have been christians that have used religion for extremism. >> then i think the president was right. >> but the president took it too far when he's giving wrong historical evidence on this -- >> it really stinks to hear the truth sometimes. >> jimmy, it was inappropriate for that -- >> i have to tell you. i'm listening to this. it sounds like a dinner table conversation. i love these discussions. i want to bring in some of what my colleague, lawrence o'donnell, said this morning on "up with steve kornacki".
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>> we're talking about scale. we're talking about numbers. and we're talking about religion. the reason people were killed by the ku klux klan was the color of their skin, not their religions. the ku klux klan hated jews and hated catholics and did not lynch jews and catholics. they lynched black people. they assassinated only black people. >> so does that at all change the context for you, jimmy? >> no, it doesn't. i respect our colleague, lawrence. but if you read the piece in "the atlantic" from yesterday, it puts things very much into perspective. they burned crosses. they didn't just burn like other kinds of religious symbols. they burned actual crosses in the 1950s and '60s and '40s. that's the problem there. again, i grew up in the south. and i'm a son of the south. i know what that's about. and the theory -- listen did we
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have -- churches everyone was christian for the most part, right? but african-americans didn't sit in the pews with white people in church. think about this for a second. >> thank you for the history lesson but the american people don't want that. they need action from this president. >> action on what? >> on isis. how to deal with these beheadings of these american hostages -- >> it's the national prayer breakfast. >> we're talking about the islamic state and how the president will manage this growing threat as we're seeing across the globe. >> right. >> and how you're seeing women being sex slaves, children being used as soldiers. thousands of people being killed regardless of their religion by this terrorist organization. so, guess what he can give all this historical lesson, this moral high ground. but what we want is a solution from this president. that's what we're looking for. >> past is pretense, guys. past is pretense. >> do we have time to talk about
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jeb bush? we do. this has been a good conversation. i want to switch gears to jeb bush. we gave a big speech on the economy in detroit this week. let's take a listen to that. >> we have a record number of americans on food stamps and living in poverty. the recovery has been everywhere but in the family paychecks. the american dream has become a mirage for far too many. >> so after hearing bush does he make democrats more or less fearful? jimmy? >> well, democrats don't fear jeb bush. >> they don't? >> no. of course not. he's another bush. i think he's formidable. but we don't fear him. we welcome hillary clinton as the next president of the united states. >> getting a little bit ahead of yourself since she hasn't fully declared. >> she's going to. jeb bush was against the auto bailout and if he's going to have a conversation about wages, he might want to have a conversation with employers. the last job number that is came out yesterday was the first time
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we've seen wages go up. so we know we have record corporate profits, the most in american history. the markets, the highest in american history. it's not like corporate america isn't doing well. if they're doing so great, where is their economic patriotism? they should pay their people a little bit better. >> when jeb bush says his brother and father were both great presidents context, perspective, who this is coming from should anybody be offended by that? >> no. i think for jeb bush he's i think, very proud of both his brother and his father serving as presidents of the united states. with every presidency, obviously there's mistakes that are being made. but knowing the bush family they've always been very dedicated to public service. what i respect about jeb bush is he has his own style. he's not george w. or his father. >> will he be able to distinguish himself from his father or his brother, that democrats don't fear another
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bush, quote, unquote? >> that's going to be his biggest challenge, how he can define himself as being simply jeb. and he was very successful and still one of the most popular governors in florida. so i think what you're starting to see is that he's going to take this message and he's trying to develop a very positive economic message, a hopeful message, to the american people and make his case. so at the end, these republican primary voters are going to have to decide if he's going to cut it if he's going to be able to make that strong sales pitch to these voters. we'll have to see if he's going to be able to distinguish himself. but jeb is a very different creature than his father and his brother. >> mercedes and jimmy, this was good. i loved this discussion. >> thank you. we love being on. >> come back soon. homebuilders may be rejoicing after a surprising new study about where millennials want to live. that's next. oh yea, that's coming down let's get
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from the debunking of popular myths department, a new one about millennials. the myth that almost all of them want to live in the city. the truth is they prefer the suburbs. the national association of homebuilders says 66% want to live in the suburbs. 24% want to live in rural areas and just 10% want to live in a city center. chris hudson reporter for "the wall street journal" is following this trend. this is so surprising and actually these numbers are staggering because we usually think of young people wanting to be in the city and all the hubbub and all that. what's the reason behind these numbers? >> you're right, it is surprising. but it's important to put it in context. what this study that the association of homebuilders is about is about what millennials will want to do versus -- it's a nuance as to what they actually are doing right now. people care about this because millennials are an enormous generation. it's about 70 million to 80 million people born in the '80s and '90s.
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that's why it's a really big deal. no question right now that millennials are predominantly renters. the homeownership rate of people 35 and younger right now is down around 35%, 36%, that's down from 43% in 2004. a significant drop. but what the builders association did is ask people what would you like to do? and as you said 66% said they would like to eventually buy a home in the suburbs. there's important context to this. and there's context that probably opens this study up to a little bit of criticism. one, the homebuilders association limited the respondents to 1,500 people who answered first that they have either bought in the past three years or intend to buy in the next three years. that's a rather large group probably of millennials in their early 20s to intend to rent for the foreseeable future. they included in the millennials people born by 1977 or later
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which ends it up to people about 38 years old which a lot of people could argue is a little bit outside of that millennial window of 18 to 35 years old. but what's more important to think here is like i said it's not argument of what they're doing right now. it's an argument of what they may do in the future and how soon they'll make a change if they do. so it's common sense that once they get to that point of marrying and then especially having children they're probably going to want more space. you get that in the suburbs at a lower cost. >> absolutely. you and i could have a conversation on the merits of owning versus renting and where that stands right now in society. but i want to ask economically speaking with this push to the suburbs, who wins and who loses? >> well economically speaking you're going to see more construction out in the suburbs because there's more available land, it's at a lower cost. but also in the past ten years or so we've seen a lot of increase in construction in the center city because there has been a preference to live there.
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so you've seen more high-rise apartment and high-rise condo construction. builders are ak nostgnostic because they build everywhere. they're not advocating for one side or the other. personally, i'm 43 years old. but i've lived in the suburbs for many years because i get more space. once people have children you have a need for more space, not down the road not in a park that's a block away but right there in your house and in your yard and that's when these folks get to the point of having children which will probably be later in life than generations before them, they'll probably want more space. >> interesting discussion. chris hudson, thank you so much. i appreciate you bringing it to us. the stepped-up attacks on islamic state, is jordan preparing to unleash ground troops on isis? and if you don't believe in miracles, you just might after you meet a young boy after his icy nightmare.
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welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." let's go to the middle east now. 26 strikes in 24 hours. coalition airpower with jordan playing a major role in it. they are hitting isis targets across syria and iraq. this is the third consecutive day of jordanian air strikes. and the military there claims it's just the beginning of its retaliation for the brutal death of its pilot. joining me now from amman, jordan, is nbc news's keir simmons. you were at a jordanian air base this morning at the heart of this mission. how much activity did you witness there today? >> reporter: that's right. we were at an air base where wave after wave of f-16s took off heading for isis targets. we believe in syria, jordan replying to isis with a roar of jet engines loaded with 500-pound bomb each of these f-16s accompanied, we
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understand as they have been in recent days by u.s. forces. in fact we saw two u.s. f-22s land at the air base as the other planes came in to land after 2 1/2 hours. and as far as we could tell in almost every case each of the planes had delivered its deadly message, its payload, each plane's payload was empty. this appears to be a real shift in opinion. certainly a shift in tone from jordan with the outrage here that we have seen over the killing of their pilot who was downed near raqqa in syria. and then you'll remember in those horrendous video, burned to death by isis. uae, we understand is also now sending planes to that same air base to join in these air attacks. and the message from leaders here in jordan is unmitigating. the interior minister the
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foreign minister, each of them saying, we continue to plan to pursue isis as far as we need to. the interior minister saying we plan to wipe isis out. so a clear message from jordan. they wanted us to be at that base and see exactly what they were doing today. >> and to add to that the jordanian king has said, we are going to be relentless in our pursuit of these criminals. but in addition they've said that this is just the beginning. can that be interpreted to mean that they would put boots on the ground? >> reporter: we did ask that question. those that they were around at the base. unable to know that kind of strategic answer. but it does appear that that conversation is being had. you'll know that there are a lot of issues with that. the part of iraq that isis has moved into has a large sunni population. this is a sunni country. syria, on the other hand of course, is not just sunni.
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it is shia as well. there are many factions involved with a country like jordan, sending troops in. but we are going to need to see some kind of a push on the ground, perhaps by the iraqis perhaps by the kurds, perhaps by the jordanians to back up these air strikeses at some point if this move against isis is really going to be successful. >> keir simmons, thank you so much. we appreciate that. while jordan is certainly ratcheting up its air strikes on isis, the fate of american hostage kayla mueller remains unknown. isis claims she was killed in an air strike. but the dubious allegation has been thrown out by nearly all the experts. and joining me now is nbc news terrorism analyst evan coleman with flashpoint partners. evan, is the most likely scenario that mueller was killed some time ago and isis was just waiting for the right opportunity to make this announcement and deflect its own, i guess, ownership of it and put it on somebody else? >> i think the answer is we don't really know.
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i wouldn't even say we know for sure that she is dead. the only evidence we have is that her personal information, her name her home address, her home phone number in arizona, her e-mail address, were posted along with photographs of what appear to be a demolished apartment complex somewhere near raqqa, syria. supposedly this apartment complex had been targeted by jordanian planes. but the claim of responsibility didn't make a lot of sense. it also said she was the only person killed and that no other mujahideen or mujahideen were killed in the air strikes. which doesn't make a lot of sense. in the case of the jordanian pilot, isis almost certainly killed him around january 3rd and then for a month was ghoulishly bargaining with the jordanian government for him. she could have been killed by her captors or killed in one of these air strikes. she could still be alive. i don't think we have any kind
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of information at this point that would lead us to know one way or the other. the only thing we can say is that this claim came from an isis media unit in raqqa that generally speaking is fairly credible. and, gep again, they did have her personal identifiable information. >> you look at the communications of terrorists and would-be terrorists you look at their fans you're able to get into the minds of these people. what would isis have to do to lose the support that it has? >> well look i think you're starting to see it right now, which is that they have to do things that are going to turn the hearts and minds not just of people in western countries but -- and not just people in the middle east but people in the sunni heartland of the middle east, people in places like jordan and lebanon, not shiites, but sunnis. because the problem here is that right now, isis occupies a large space of land in iraq and syria that is sunni heartland. and it's occupied by sunnis who live there. now, these folks may or may not
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necessarily be pro-isis. but they're deeply skeptical that they'll be protected by the governments that are based in damascus or baghdad because these governments are predominantly shiite or shiite-backed. >> a lot of talk that mueller's not been paraded and executed like other hostages because she's a woman but isis has killed women and children before, can you explain this philosophy and if it's legit? >> it's certainly true that isis has murdered plenty of women and children, but not on camera. you don't generally see that on camera. that's deeply unpopular. and it's even more unpopular when it's someone who is someone -- it's what they call a people of the book even if they're not muslim christian or jewish it comes from the tradition of islam. in that case killing an innocent woman on camera would be very difficult to try to get by clerics around the middle east, never mind clerics inside isis itself. it should be noted that apparently there's a cleric from within isis who actually spoke up against the killing of the pilot as we saw in this video
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and said this is not right. and supposedly now isis is going to put him on trial. so even the killing of the pilot was something that was deeply controversial even within the rounds of people that might support isis. killing an innocent woman on camera and distributing that and glorifying that i think that's very difficult to sell to any audience even the audience of people that's rallied by beheading videos and whatnot. that's the extreme of the extreme. >> okay. evan coleman, thank you so much. let's go to an amazing survival story in missouri that has doctors shaking their heads. a 14-year-old boy fell through ice on a pond and he was under water for 15 minutes. but now he's telling his story. nbc's kristen dahlgren has more on this miracle rescue. >> reporter: they say five to ten minutes without oxygen and you're likely to suffer massive brain damage. doctors say the missouri teen john smith, was without oxygen for much, much longer than that. but today he's home. he can walk he can talk and,
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boy, does he have a story to tell. eighth-grader john smith doesn't remember much after this picture. he and two friends posing out on the ice of lake st. louise. and then this -- >> there's one child under water now. >> reporter: frigid water and a desperate scramble by rescuers trying to pull john to safety. >> there's no really -- any explanation but how god wanted me to live for a reason. so i'm alive now. >> reporter: doctors agree, calling john's survival miraculous. >> it was gone. i've never felt someone that cold in my life. >> reporter: they had little hope when john came in. the boy had been under the icy water for 15 minutes. they tried to revive him for almost half an hour. then called in his mother to tell her he was gone. >> i started praying very loudly, god, please don't take my son. >> she came on in here walked in sat down and yelled out, come holy spirit and said his
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name and a few seconds later, we had a heartbeat. it gave me goose bumps. >> it was just a miracle. and i remember everybody just kind of started crying. >> he's the light of my life. >> reporter: but would he ever be the statement? john kept defying the odds. within 48 hours, he opened his eyes. then the basketball-loving teen gave doctors a sign that his mind was still okay. >> we said john pretend your left hand is lebron james and your right hand is michael jordan. we asked him a series of questions. he got them all right. >> reporter: on friday, rescuers met up with smith giving hip cavs gear, even though he knows they have already given him the greatest gift. >> i'm thankful that i'm alive now. >> reporter: incredible. our thanks to our st. louis affiliate for their help with the story. smith still has a cough. he's in physical therapy to regain movement in his hands. and there's another part of this
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miracle, the rescue squad had just practiced their ice rescues. that likely helped them to get smith out before it was too late. >> we have to tell people that part when he was gone and then the mother comes in and says -- i said, what? it is an extraordinary story. >> it really is. you hear about sometimes younger kids being under the ice and frozen and they're able to live for a while. the doctors say when you get older, to be a teenager that's really, really unlikely. >> just extraordinary. thank you so much, kristen dahlgren. it's a boom for some, a bust for many. the withering impact of wintry weather on our economy, that's next.
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president in his weekly address today touted the gains. is the middle class really seeing a meaningful wage gain? >> well to some extent wages are one part of this recovery that are still catching up. however, in recent months and weeks, alex, they really have done better. wages themselves continue to grow at around a 2% pace year over year. talking about hourly wages. but, of course, inflation has pulled back a lot. last we checked, it was growing about 1%. that has a lot to do with energy costs and the low price at the pump. anybody who's filled up lately knows what i'm talking about. so even if your nominal wage that means before you adjust it for inflation, is kind of trucking along at the same pace with inflation lower, the family paycheck is going further in recent months. >> the labor department shows with new data the retail sector added the most jobs followed by construction, health care and manufacturing. but are these the kinds of jobs that create a strong economy
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going forward? are they sustainable? >> i think they are. by the way, that retail result comes right out of what we just said. consumer spending is getting a boost from lower inflation as well as more jobs. i was talking about the hourly wage. you've got weekly earnings, you've got more people working more hours. so i think we're going to be a bit of a boost to family income. and i think the quality of jobs begins to improve as the job market tightens up and workers get a little more bargaining power. we're not there yet. we're not at full employment but we're moving there at a faster clip than we were. >> how about the weather? the insurance information institute puts the cost of winter losses in 2014 at more than $2 billion. so can a bad winter season really stall economic growth? >> it's not quite as simple as that. i think you said earlier that one person's gain is another person's loss. it may cost $2.3 billion. but, remember, that money goes somewhere. so a city that for example, has to spend more out of its snow
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removal budget than it would have otherwise, that money shows up in the paychecks of people who drive the snowplows, often a private sector endeavor.snowplows, often a private sector endeavor. let's say you have a problem with your roof or your insulation because of an exceptionally cold snap well that means you've got to call somebody in to fix it. typically one person's loss is another's gain and it kind of nets out. >> you being on the show is my gain. thank you so much. >> thanks again, alex. it's a dilemma for democrats and has some boycotting the prime minister's speech to congress. what message is that sending, and to whom? sometimes breathing air can be difficult. if you have copd, ask your doctor about once-daily anoro ellipta. it helps people with copd breathe better for a full 24hours. anoro ellipta is the first fda-approved product containing two long-acting bronchodilators in one inhaler. anoro is not for asthma.
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new today, two more democrats will skip israelly prime minister benjamin netanyahu next month. they are the latest to who are uneasy with the speech happening so close to israel's election and coming in the midst of negotiations with iran. joining me co-host of the cycle, krista ball and
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contributor and host of taking the hill former congressman patrick murphy. and we're glad to see you both. you too, you've been on jury duty. >> thanks for having us. >> yeah i've got to get my tv in somehow alex thank you. >> i would call you congressman but you're a colleague. how much are the dilemma of the democrats in. would you boycott the speech? >> i think there's a lot that feel torn between a rock and a hard place. that's the number one ally but to see this happen that really is orchestrated by speaker boehner, and when you look on the other side israel now reports a couple days saying they were misled. they didn't think it was against protocol. i would not be surprised if you see netanyahu basically delay that speech in march to after his election. >> really? >> really as you know it
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should stop at the water's edge here in america. we are all americans. and we feel like a lot of democrats, like myself feel like this is being interfered with in a foreign election we don't have any business to be a part of. >> i don't think i'm quite as optimistic as him that it was all unforseen and oh we had no idea this would weigh into american politics i think prime minister netanyahu knew exactly what he was doing and it has turned against him. democrats that may have been on his side in terms of pushing forward for more iran sanctions have now said no we're backing the president, we're laying off. this is a major backfire patrick is absolutely right. foreign leaders should not be intervening in this way in american olympicpolitics. it is not the first time he's dipped his toes in in the water. i think democrats are saying there is a limit here we are
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not going to sit down and take this. >> speaking of limits you know what it's like to be out against a hard out. i want to ask you both about the progressive summit there. bernie sanders giving the keynote speech this morning. do you think he rans as an independent? patrick, to you first. >> i think sanders will run as a democrat. he says much i know he ran in the past as a socialist candidate, and up in vermont, i think he'll run as a dwm, i think he will be very popular. there's a lot of buttons here -- >> at love people like him here. >> yeah run bernie run thing. and elizabeth warren there's folks on the left chomping at the bit. >> and hillary clinton. i mean to you quickly, hillary clinton, the progressive right, crystal crystal? >> yeah, you know what, there is a lot of energy here for hillary clinton, mostly i'm sensing that people want to have a vigorous primary debate. and they would love to see bernie sanders as part of that. >> wow, you guys did it exactly in a minute. you are good. thank you very much.
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>> joining us here next time in pennsylvania. >> yeah, maybe i'll come it's good. thank you guys. that's a wrap of this edition of "weekends with alex." up next, "caught on camera," have a great day. your mom's got your back. your friends have your back. your dog's definitely got your back. but who's got your back when you need legal help? we do. we're legalzoom, and over the last 10 years, we've helped millions of people protect their families and run their businesses. we have the right people on-hand to answer your questions backed by a trusted network of attorneys.
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